A group asked the Department of Education (DepEd) on Tuesday, June 15, to show compassion to over 1,000 teachers who are about to “lose their jobs” when their teaching licenses expire.
ACT-Private Schools, a nationwide organization of academic and non-academic personnel in private school, is seeking dialogue with DepEd to discuss pertinent matters regarding the livelihood of more than 1,000 Senior High School (SHS) provisional teachers in basic education level might become jobless due to the lapse of five (5) years’ timeline for teaching license.
The said license is a requirement imposed under Republic Act (RA) No. 10533 also known as Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013.
“We are hopeful that DepEd will grant us the opportunity to hear out our demands, especially now that our situation calls for more considerate and compassionate policies,” said ACT Private Schools Secretary-General Dr. Jonathan Geronimo.
ACT Private Schools is also pushing for the suspension of the five-year licensure requirement through the House Resolution No. 39 filed by Assistant Minority and ACT Teachers Representative France Castro together with the Makabayan bloc.
Geronimo said that this move is in response to the issue “whereby teachers’ job security is at risk: they are vulnerable to part-time adjustments, reduced teaching loads, and worse, termination” due to the postponement of the Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET).
“This situation is caused by the pandemic restrictions, and teachers have no other choice but to wait for the said examination to be administered,” Geronimo added.
Republic Act No.10533 mandates that, unless working on a part-time basis, graduates of science, mathematics, statistics, engineering, music, and other degree courses with shortages in licensed teachers are qualified to teach in SHS, provided that they pass the board licensure examination within five years after the date of hiring.
However, due to the ongoing pandemic, the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) has postponed the administration of the examination numerous times causing delays and job uncertainties for teachers in probationary status.
ACT said that it has received reports from teachers hired under the provision in the private and public sector having adverse effect on their employment for their failure to comply due to the postponement of the Licensure Examination for Professional Teachers scheduled last March 2020, September 2020 and March 2021.
The group also noted that “there is still no certainty that the LEPT will push through on its scheduled September 26, 2021, due to the still ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.”
Furthermore, ACT argued that DepEd should “implement a statutory relief” accorded by Republic Act No. 10469 or the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act which seeks to move statutory deadlines and timelines given that terminating teachers hired under the provision is “unreasonable and uncompassionate.”
Citing results of some surveys. ACT said that some teachers – who were initially classified as permanent employees – were “demoted since they were not able to comply” with the teaching license requirement.
ACT stressed that as the country continues to grapple with the pandemic, “these teachers cannot afford to look for another job and in effect, their families will suffer.”
In a statement issued by the DepEd on June 5, it assured that provisional teachers can continue teaching this SY 2020-2021.
DepEd noted that some 1, 638 senior high school teachers – whose provisional appointments are set to expire by July this year – were granted priority status by the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) in the 2021 Licensure Exam for Professional Teachers (LEPT).
However, Geronimo lamented that “mere extension of service for the affected SHS teachers is not a viable solution to address their economic and welfare concerns.”